03.27.12 Josephine Baker and Her Pet Cheetah, Chiquita

The first black woman to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall and to become a world-famous entertainer. After King’s assassination, his widow Coretta Scott King approached her in Holland to ask if she would take her husband’s place as leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, which she declined, saying her (12 adopted) children were “too young to lose their mother.” She allegedly had an affair with artist Frida Kahlo. When World War II broke out, she volunteered to spy for her adopted country of France. After the war, for her underground activity, Baker received the Croix de Guerre, the Rosette de la Resistance, and was made a Chevalier of the Legion d’honneur by General Charles de Gaulle. WHAT A BADASS.